What Are Title Tags?
A title tag is a brief description of a page that shows up on a SERP (search engine results page). It is an HTML element that shows the title of a page as a clickable headline. Title tags are generally quite short, and ideally, they should provide a short-and-sweet description of the content of the page. A title tag appears just above a meta description (a slightly longer description of the contents of a page).
A title tag is one of the main ways Google’s algorithm determines what a page is about, thus a well-optimized and descriptive title tag that includes a focus keyword or two is going to help your page rank better in the SERP.
How To Format Title Tags
Generally speaking, you want your title tags to follow this basic format:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
Example: Title Tags In 2019 – About Title Tags | Arcane Marketing
There is, however, one exception to this: the homepage. When writing a title tag for your homepage, include the brand name first, followed by the primary and secondary keywords.
Example: Arcane Marketing | SEO, PPC, Social Media, & Web Design
Also, keep in mind that Google and most search engines will show roughly 50-60 character title tags before cutting them off. Your title tags should be around 50 characters in length.
Here are some tips for optimizing your title tags.
- Make each title tag unique: Just as you have many different unique pages on your website, you should also have unique title tags for each page that describe what that page is about.
- Include (but don’t overuse) keywords: A page on your website should be informative. It should provide information about a search term that someone has typed into Google. That search term (keyword) should be included in your title tag, but don’t overuse keywords. Not only does this take away from other relevant information, but it also gets you dangerously close to “keyword stuffing”; something Google can penalize your page for by demoting it in ranking or even removing it entirely.
- Accurately describe what’s on the page: Your title tag is often the single deciding factor on whether or not someone decides to click on your page. You want your title tag to accurately describe what’s on the page, otherwise, the person is likely to click the back button immediately. Having accurate and descriptive title tags is a great way to keep your bounce rate low.
How NOT To Use Title Tags
- Separating words and phrases with underscores or commas. Instead, use pipes ( | ) or hyphens ( – ).
- Keyword stuffing. This is the practice of stuffing as many keywords into a title tag as possible to try and help the page rank better. As stated above, Google recognizes this tactic and can penalize your page as a result. Many users can also see this for what it is and thus regard your website as spammy.
- Using figurative language or any type of slang. Google bots don’t think this way. You want your title tags to be literal and straight to the point. Figures of speech don’t get a lot of search volume. Avoid similes, metaphors, and puns. Example: How To Run With The Industry Big Dogs. A human will understand what this means; Google doesn’t. And most people aren’t searching “Industry Big Dogs”.
- Repeating title tags. Even if you have pages that are very similar, you should strive for some variation at the very least. Google doesn’t like carbon-copy title tags.
Where Are Title Tags Placed In A Landing Page?
Title tags can be placed in the <head> section in the site’s HTML.
That said, most CMS (content management systems) like WordPress have a feature in the general settings for adding title tags.
Yoast SEO is a great plugin that you can use with your WordPress website. It helps with many SEO-related endeavors, and for title tags, it can be very useful in making sure the title tag length is correct, that the keywords are in the right places, and for helping you make your title tags more original and search-friendly. Yoast SEO also gives your title tag a ranking.
Advanced Title Tag Techniques
- Include numbers. People like to see content broken down into segments. It looks better and is easier for users to navigate a page. An example of this in your title tag could be, “5 Ways To Optimize Your Title Tags”. Another example of using numbers in title tags is percentages; “Why Over 70% of Title Tags Are Sub Par”.
- Include dates. People want to know the information they’re getting is relevant and up-to-date. Include something like, “Best Title Tag Techniques In 2019”.
- Include keyword synonyms & variants. Many people are searching for terms like “Cheap Car Repair Near Me”, while many others are searching “Affordable Car Repair Near Me” or “Low-Cost Car Repair Near Me”. You can include different variants of that keyword with something like, “Affordable Car Repair – Low-Cost Auto Repair | Joe’s Auto Repair”.
- Include a Call-To-Action. Some examples would be action words like find, download, buy, search, watch, listen, learn, etc. If you are a business selling audio equipment, your title tag could be, “Buy High-Quality Car Speakers – Car Audio | Tom’s Car Audio Shop”.
- Make your title tag a question. Questions can compel many users to click on your page as it creates a “curiosity gap”. Let’s say your focus keyword is “Best Blinds”. Your title tag could be “What Are The Best Blinds For The Summer? | Pam’s Blinds & Shutters”.